What Mining and Geological Engineers Do
Mining and geological engineers design mines to safely and efficiently remove minerals for use in manufacturing and utilities.
Many mining and geological engineers work where mining operations are located, such as mineral mines or sand-and-gravel quarries, in remote areas or near cities and towns. Others work in offices or onsite for oil and gas extraction firms or engineering services firms.
How to Become a Mining or Geological Engineer
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited engineering program is required to become a mining or geological engineer.
The median annual wage for mining and geological engineers was $91,160 in May 2019.
Employment of mining and geological engineers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth for mining and geological engineers will be driven by demand for mining operations. In addition, as companies look for ways to cut costs, they are expected to contract more services with engineering services firms, rather than employ engineers directly.
Mining and geological engineers design mines to safely and efficiently remove minerals such as coal and metals for use in manufacturing and utilities.
Mining and geological engineers typically do the following:
- Design open-pit and underground mines
- Supervise the construction of mine shafts and tunnels
- Devise methods for transporting minerals to processing plants
- Prepare technical reports for miners, engineers, and managers
- Monitor mine production to assess the effectiveness of operations
- Provide solutions to problems related to land reclamation, water and air pollution, and sustainability
- Ensure that mines are operated in safe and environmentally sound ways
Geological engineers search for mineral deposits and evaluate possible sites. Once a site is identified, they plan how the metals or minerals will be extracted in efficient and environmentally sound ways.
Mining engineers often specialize in one particular mineral or metal, such as coal or gold. They typically design and develop mines and determine the best way to extract metal or minerals to get the most out of deposits.
Some mining engineers work with geoscientists and metallurgical engineers to find and evaluate ore deposits. Other mining engineers develop new equipment or direct mineral-processing operations to separate minerals from dirt, rock, and other materials.
Mining safety engineers use best practices and their knowledge of mine design to ensure workers’ safety and to maintain compliance with state and federal safety regulations. They inspect the walls and roofs of mines, monitor the air quality, and examine mining equipment for possible hazards.
Engineers who hold a master’s or a doctoral degree may teach engineering at colleges and universities. For more information, see the profile on postsecondary teachers.
Mining and geological engineers held about 6,300 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of mining and geological engineers were as follows:
|Metal ore mining||17|
|Oil and gas extraction||4|
Many work where mining operations are located, such as mineral mines or sand-and-gravel quarries, in remote areas or near cities and towns. Others work in offices or onsite for oil and gas extraction firms or engineering services firms.
Most mining and geological engineers work full time and some work more than 40 hours a week. The remoteness of some mining locations gives rise to variable schedules and weeks during which they work more hours than usual.
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of mining and geological engineers.
For more information about mining and geological engineers, visit
For information about general engineering education and career resources, visit
For more information about licensure as a mining or geological engineer, visit
For information about accredited engineering programs, visit
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Mining and Geological Engineers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/mining-and-geological-engineers.htm (visited ).